“We did not announce ‘all future Bethesda games will not be on Steam,’” Hines explained. “That is not what we said. We said ‘this game will be available exclusively on Bethesda.net.’”
When asked whether Doom Eternal would be skipping Steam as well, Hines said they don’t know yet. “We haven’t decided on anything else, this is specific to Fallout 76 given the kind of game it is — it’s an online, ongoing game,” he continued. “[Doom Eternal] may or may not, but it hasn’t been decided on anything else yet.”
[Doom Eternal] may or may not, but it hasn’t been decided on anything else yet.
Additionally, Hines said he’s not totally sure if Fallout 76 will ever make it to Steam. “Is it possible? I guess, but I honestly couldn’t give you any guarantee one way or the other on whether it will or won’t.” Notably, The Elder Scrolls Online and The Elder Scrolls: Legends both made their way to Steam after initially launching exclusively on Bethesda.net.
When asked what the reason for Fallout 76 not launching on Steam was, Hines explained it was to have more control over the online experience of players, saying “we feel like the best way for us to provide the best experience and service to our customers is to be dealing with them directly, and not through someone else.”
“There are some different things that have happened or have come up where having everyone work directly with you does make things a little easier in terms of talking to your player base, having them talk to you,” Hines said. “I am 100% sure I know whose fault it is and whose problem it is when you’re having an issue with the game: it’s ours.”
Specific for Fallout 76, we are going to try this because we think it will give us the best chance to do right by our customers.
Hines said that working with other platforms in the past has caused problems in communicating with their players when issues do occur. Across all platforms, not just Steam, Bethesda can’t always access the contact information of its players, but both selling and hosting a game only on Bethesda.net alleviates that.
“We have found very good successes in having those direct relationships with customers, and not been able to see those same benefits when we work through somebody else. And so, specific for Fallout 76, we are going to try this because we think it will give us the best chance to do right by our customers.”
When asked if the success of Destiny 2 and Fortnite on their own launchers had anything to do with the decision, Hines said not really. “It’s impossible not to notice that — Blizzard is doing just fine with what they’re doing with Battle.net — but at the same time it was more informed by our own experiences with our own titles and what we’ve seen and what we’ve felt like we could do.”
“There’s not really any way for me to know what that experience has been like for them, but we have had some of our own opportunities to see for ourselves, and just felt like it was the right thing to do for us, so we’re going to give it a try.”
Bethesda also gave details on Fallout 76’s completely revamped Perk system today, as well as broke down how its PvP will try to limit griefing. They also revealed that it will have private servers with mod support.
Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.